Distraction Training For Your Dog
Many owners can teach their dog the basic commands and manners that are necessary for a behaviorally balanced life. The biggest struggle most of the time is getting the dogs to follow through with these commands when they are surrounded by different distractions. When people call me and set up an initial in-home behavior consultation, I will typically see if the dog knows a basic command, such as “Sit” or “Come”. The majority of the time, the client will respond with a yes, and sometimes even demonstrate it for me in the home. After that, I then ask if the dog will obey the command if we were in a more chaotic environment, like at the park or maybe the local farmers market. The majority of the time, the client is not as confident in their dog’s reliability when it comes to distractions.
If your dog can only listen to your commands and leadership in the home, then your dog’s training is not quite complete. Often times, we NEED our dog’s attention during distracting moments. When a dog wants to chase after a cat or squirrel in the neighborhood, we usually demand their attention immediately because we want to prevent an incident from occurring. If you have a dog with high prey drive that will start chasing as soon as they see a critter, they STILL should be able to respond to your “come” commands, despite being distracted.
All dog training should require a time where your dog works on distraction training. At James River Dog Training, we never skip out on this crucial aspect of training. It is not something we immediately dive into though, as we want to set your dog up for success and make sure he/she is equipped to follow through. With our in-home training, we start off in controlled environments so you and your dog can become adjusted to the training structure and know how to succeed and progress. Once your dog’s basics are covered and he/she knows what they must do, they we work on reintroducing distractions so that they are ready to face them and succeed even among busy environments!
When approaching distraction training, even if your dog has mastered the fundamentals, it is still important to keep your dog under your control so that you can keep things in order and maintain your dog’s consistency. If your dog can respond to you and your commands in your house or in quiet settings, then he/she can DEFINITELY learn to do well in places that are packed with distractions. It’s about gradual steps forward, adding more distractions slowly, and always working to consistency and setting your dog up for success! It takes a lot of time and patience, so don’t lose hope – change is possible, even with all the distractions around you and your dog!
If your dog needs some distraction training, give us a call at 800-649-7297 and we’ll map out a training plan that creates rewarding situations and behavioral success for you and your dog!